This paper summarizes iron status measurements included in the three cross-sectional National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) completed to date, as well as a special study of Hispanics, known as the Hispanic Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (HHANES). Approaches for defining iron status in the population based on these measurements are also described as well as issues in comparing iron status data between surveys, using NHANES II and III data as an example.